First DAW for Touch — Cakewalk Launches Free SONAR X2a Update, Supports Windows 8
December 22, 2012 by David Weiss
Time to reach out and touch your DAW via the strength of Windows 8.
Cakewalk has announced the availability of the SONAR X2a update, featuring many fixes and enhancements, as well as support for advanced technology allowing artists to create music on multi-touch enabled machines including Intel-inspired Ultrabook devices.
According to Cakewalk, SONAR is the first DAW to market that is compatible with the highly intuitive touch functions of Windows 8. The video below underscores the advantages and possibilities of the touch-enabled workflow — for those who have been lusting after Steven Slate’s Raven, SONAR’s latest upgrades may be a faster path.
The free SONAR X2a update for SONAR X2 Essential, SONAR X2 Studio and SONAR X2 Producer will be available December 21, 2012 via a free download from www.cakewalk.com.
Read on for more details from Cakewalk on this extensive SONAR update:
“Over 250 fixes and enhancements
Various fixes and enhancements based on direct customer feedback. Cakewalk’s “customer first” approach ensures highest impact items are given priority. A list of prominent fixes will be available upon release.
Windows 8 support
SONAR X2a adds full functionality support in both Windows 8 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.
Unique Now Time markers
The Now Time marker changes appearance to indicate if playback is stopped, paused, running, or recording.
Playlist View Enhancements
The Playlist includes many new enhancements for the live performance environment.
• Updated User Interface
• Sort columns in alphabetical, numerical, or date order
• New columns: Path, BPM, Key, Meter, Project Length, Date Created, Date Modified, Delay, User Notes
Rich context menu for adding ProChannel modules
When adding a ProChannel module, the context menu shows a visually rich menu with a small thumbnail image of the module, the module name, and a brief description.
Updated Piano Roll View and Staff View track pane user interface
The Track pane in the Piano Roll View and Staff View shows more intuitive buttons, and the current track is highlighted.
Visual feedback when dragging items from the Browser
When dragging items from the Browser, the mouse pointer shows the name of the items.
SONAR’s power is now more accessible to vision impaired users.
SONAR’s accessibility features, including Microsoft User Interface Automation, expose rich information about its user Interface elements such as type, state, name, and value.
With reliable access to this information, vision impaired users can implement user Interface automation-capable screen reader programs such as Microsoft Narrator, JAWS, NVDA and Window-Eyes. This will allow users to access, identify, and manipulate SONAR’s user Interface elements as the screen readers broadcast aloud what’s on the computer.
Scan VST folders from the Browser
The Scan VST Folders command is now available in the Browser’s plug-ins tab drop-down menu.
Multi-touch support in Windows 8
In addition to the computer keyboard and mouse, users can now interact with SONAR X2a via touch using Intel-inspired Ultrabooks, touch-enabled devices, or compatible touch screen displays running Windows 8. This offers touch gestures for:
• Scrolling and triggering cells in the Matrix View
• Scrolling and basic multi-touch mixing in the Console View
• Scrolling and Zooming in the Clips Pane
• Adjusting loop marker positions in the Track View
• Auditioning and dragging content from the Browser
• Expanding/resizing/collapsing of docked views
• Control Bar Transport module support
• Toggling steps in the Step Sequencer View
• Control of plug-in parameters (no multi-touch)
An evolving trend of music creation on-the-go has encouraged Cakewalk and companies like Intel to develop new, mobile-oriented ways to make music utilizing the “touch” experience. As Ultrabook devices hit the market with stunning graphics, precision, power and control, users can now swipe, pinch, drag and touch their way to a more inspired musical workflow; all with power and portability.
With Microsoft Windows 8 support, the touch experience lends itself perfectly to music composition with instant visual and audio response. This transpires into a natural and creative thought process for the artist, while also adding the benefit of increased productivity. Some of the basic features for music production include touch, multi-touch, scrolling, dragging, holding, zooming, swiping and tapping in different musical environments; all within SONAR X2′s award-winning Skylight User Interface. Some examples include sliding a fader (or multiple faders) during the mixing process, tapping sample-loaded cells to trigger sounds, or zooming in and out by pinching to re-size the views.
Users of SONAR X2A will now experience a new creative environment on touch enabled devices. Highlights include:
Skylight User Interface
• Pinch-to-zoom horizontally and vertically on tracks and other data.
• Swiping gestures to scroll through different components of the project.
• Arranging the work-space by re-positioning, dragging, docking and un-docking.
• Touch transforms any touch screen into a virtual pad controller for triggering.
• Preview, and then drag-and-drop loops into cells in the Matrix View.
• Adjust all settings in the Matrix View.
• Console View fully supports multi-touch.
• Automate and control faders, plugins, ProChannel parameters, the Inspector and more.
• Navigate through the views easily by swiping and scrolling tracks vertically and horizontally.
Ultrabook with 3rd generation Intel Core processors, combined with Windows 8 and SONAR X2a, can help music creators utilize familiar smartphone and tablet gestures in many new and creative ways on their PCs. Mobile systems, once difficult for artists to use on the go, are now exceptionally thin, much more efficient on battery life, and come packed with the power of desktop computers. The interactive nature of the touch experience works seamlessly with the musician’s mind, and is intended to trigger new avenues in the creation process.
It’s simply the best of both worlds. SONAR X2 users on the Windows platform will have more options at their fingertips for a faster and more intuitive musical experience. And now with more device-makers implementing this technology into their designs (such as the Ultrabook convertibles) it’s possible for artists to find inspiration in ways that were never before possible.”